American League Tiered Outfield Rankings — June 2014

Rather than get dragged into a pizza-themed battle again, this month’s tiered rankings will be named after my favorite “Futurama” background characters. In order to qualify as a background character, they must appear in at least three episodes and cannot be a main character like Fry, Leela, etc.

Zapp Brannigan

Mike Trout

Still in a tier by himself — despite the recent back pain — even if he does end up on the disabled list. Rather than being his usual incredible self, this year Trout has merely been really, really good. Hopefully his back issues can be resolved without a trip to the DL.

Lrrr

Shin-Soo Choo
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jose Bautista
Nelson Cruz
Adam Jones

Choo continues to climb the ranks despite his lack of steals this year (just three SB and 3 CS) because of his leadoff spot for a team that plays half of its games in one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball. I can’t argue Cruz’s performance to date and on top of leading the league in home runs, he’s shown an increased walk rate while cutting down a bit on the strikeouts. Cruz’s SwStr% and other swing rates are in line with his career norms so I’m not sure how long the walk rate will remain in the double digits. Still, I was admittedly skeptical of how much he had left in the tank and it appears the answer is plenty. Jones gets lowered to the bottom of tier two based on his three-year drop in walk rate and is now down to 2% on the year.

Robot Devil

Josh Hamilton
Yoenis Cespedes
Alex Rios
Brandon Moss
Alex Gordon

Moss climbs in the rankings as I’m beginning to buy into his reduced strikeout rate. His 73.8% Contact% is his highest mark since 2010 and his 12.7% Swstr% (while still high) is also his best rate since 2010. Moss has a very good chance at 30 home runs for the second year in a row and while he has platoon issues, he crushes right-handed pitchers enough to be valuable in any format.

Hedonism Bot

Melky Cabrera
George Springer
Leonys Martin
Coco Crisp
Austin Jackson
Torii Hunter
Adam Eaton
Michael Bourn

The Melkman gets the top nod in tier four here as his average is up as is his ISO. He already has eight dingers this year and it is possible he could reach 20 for the first time in a single season if a few doubles catch the right gust of wind. My boy Springer climbs the rankings as well given his power potential. His massive 30% strikeout rate will keep him out of the very top tiers this year but his double digit walk rate does help offset the whiffs. I’d really like to see him run a bit more as he has just one steal against two CS. He has a chance at 30 home runs this year and if his power continues to shine, he may get moved into a more lucrative RBI lineup slot rather than continue hitting second.

Morbo

Michael Brantley
Brett Gardner
Kole Calhoun
Rajai Davis
Carlos Beltran
Shane Victorino
Desmond Jennings
Wil Myers
Alfonso Soriano
Matt Joyce

Some drops and some risers here. I gave Brantley a boost after re-evaluating him. I’m skeptical of his 16.7% HR/FB% against his career 6.2%  rate, but I like seeing his 8:0 SB/CS rate. Myers drops to the fifth tier due to his injury and recovery timetable. Beltran is now in the midst of his minor league rehab and should be back in a week. He can climb the rankings once again if he can prove to be healthy. Fellow Yankees outfielder Soriano has looked lost at the plate at times this year. Currently hitting .226/253/.392, Soriano is also posting the highest strikeout rate of his career alongside the lowest walk rate. Not exactly a recipe for success there. He should still clear the 20 home run mark but we’ll see if his ratios are too poor to roster that middle-of-the-road power.

Hypnotoad 

Josh Willingham
Colby Rasmus
Dayan Viciedo
Jarrod Dyson
Nick Markakis
Nick Swisher
Norichika Aoki
Alejandro De Aza
Lorenzo Cain
Aaron Hicks
Michael Saunders

A lot of AL Central outfielders here. Readers should now by know I am quite fond of Willinham’s power and on-base prowess. I still like Dyson’s speed but the Kansas City outfield is awfully crowded. Swisher has had a disastrous start to the season and now he’s on the DL.

Kif Kroker

David Murphy
David DeJesus
Kelly Johnson
Oswaldo Arcia
Nick Castellanos
Josh Reddick
Anthony Gose
Dexter Fowler

Reddick is on the shelf nursing an injury. Gose has speed to burn but I worry about his contact rates being able to keep up with big league pitching.

Scruffy

Craig Gentry
Michael Choice
Ichiro Suzuki
Grady Sizemore
Dustin Ackley
Chris Carter
James Jones
Jackie Bradley Jr.

The A’s use all sorts of platoons and lineup shuffles so Gentry could get some decent playing time, especially with Reddick on the DL and Crisp and Cespedes never too far way from a few days of rest. If nothing else he is a good pinch runner and could nab 20+ steals. Choice has a chance to move up if he can carve out some playing time. I like his power potential as well as his walk rate. Carter may be on his last legs with the addition of Jonathan Singleton to the roster.

Malfunctioning Eddie

Don Kelly
Mike Carp
Daniel Nava
Jonny Gomes
L.J. Hoes
Ryan Raburn
Robbie Grossman
Jason Kubel

I’ve held out hopes of Kubel’s power making a comeback but I really don’t know how much longer the Twins can send him out. Since the start of last season Kubel has been worth -2.6 WAR.



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seriously...
Guest
seriously...

hypnotoad should be the top tier- not Branigan…. HYPNOTOAD RULES ALL!

Sgt. Hulka
Guest
Sgt. Hulka

I wanted to post the same thing. He should be top tier without a doubt.

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